Rookie Class Grows in 2003
Of the collection, 20 earned their cards through Q-School, while the other nine came via the Buy.Com Tour.
There were also nine Buy.Com graduates who were rookies this past year ' five finished inside the top 125 on the money list, four did not.
Twelve of the tours newest members are foreign born: five from Australia, two from Japan, two from Sweden, and one each from Czechoslovakia, England and New Zealand.
2003 PGA Tour rookie class
The most intriguing addition to the tour may be John E. Morgan. The Englishman tied for 11th at Q-School. He had already earned his European Tour card, having won on the Challenge Tour ' all this in just eight months as a professional.
But even more impressive is what Morgan has had to overcome in his personal life. The 24-year-old suffers from epilepsy and dyslexia.
His first epileptic seizure, at the age of 20, resulted in two cracked ribs and the biting off of part of his tongue.
Other rookies of note include Alex Cejka, the Czech-born German transplant who has four European Tour victories to his credit, including this year's Trophee Lancome; Carl Pettersson, the Swedish standout from N.C. State who contended at this years British Open; James McLean, the 1998 NCAA individual champion out of Minnesota; Aaron Baddeley, the 21-year-old Australian prodigy; and 1997 U.S. Amateur runner-up Joel Kribel.
Last year, 21 players started the year with exempt status ' 11 kept their cards by finishing inside the top 125 on the money list, and two regained their playing privileges by qualifying through Q-School.
Jonathan Byrd and Luke Donald were the only rookies to win this past season. Byrd captured the Buick Challenge by shooting a final-round 63, while Donald was declared the winner the following week at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic when the final round was washed away.
Byrd ended the year 39th on the money list, and was closely followed by fellow first-timers Pat Perez (40th) and Australian Peter Lonard (41st).
The three are the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year. The explosive Perez had six top-10 finishes, including a pair of runner-ups. Lonard, who was sidelined 18 months in the early 1990s after contracting Ross River Fever, a mosquito-carried virus that damages the eyes, made his first 22 cuts of the year and had four top-10s.
On the opposite end of consistency, Boo Weekley, the camouflage-pants-wearing, tennis-shoe-sporting Southerner, missed 18 cuts and had one withdrawal in 24 starts. His best result was a tie for 19th at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He earned just over $95,000 in finishing 200th on the money list.
The worst money finish belonged to Brenden Pappas. He made only six cuts in 25 events, ending the year in 206th place in the cash department. He earned a reprieve, however, by tying for eighth at the Qualifying Tournament.
Likewise, Brian Bateman, who was 159th on the money list, also tied for eighth at Q-School.
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:
Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)
Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)
Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.
1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.
Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.
Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.
“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”
It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.
Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.
“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”
It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.
McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.
But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.
“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.
“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.
“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”
McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.
“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”
McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.